The World Needs a Tech Diet

If you use digital products on a daily basis, you’ve probably noticed the proliferation of dark design patterns that try to manipulate you to engage longer on a website or app. How can designers actually break the cycle of designing for addictive engagement?

UI copy that fabricates a sense of scarcity, urging you to book a hotel room before someone else does. Confirm-shame links that try to bully users into entering their email addresses. Streaming platforms that autoplay new episodes, encouraging binge-watching behavior.

Eager for clicks and views, tech platforms are always looking for new ways to use basic human instincts like shame, laziness and fear to their advantage. Digital junk foods, from social networking apps to video streaming platforms, promise users short-term highs but leave depressive existential lulls in their wake.

The result? Our relationship with technology is becoming increasingly characterized by dependency, regret, and loss of control.

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